Sex differences in heart disease: A closer look

Heart attack symptoms tend to be pretty similar among both sexes. However, chest pain and sweating are slightly more common in men, while nausea and vomiting and shortness of breath tend to be more likely to occur in women. Heart attacks that show no evidence of a blockage in a major heart artery (known as myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries, or MINOCA) tend to occur more often in women, but about 40% of these unusual heart attacks occur in men. (Locked) More »

Calcium scan concerns

Coronary artery calcium scans tend to be quite accurate. Unlike some other imaging tests, the results are unlikely to be either falsely negative or falsely positive because the results are literally black and white (the calcium shows up as white on the scan). (Locked) More »

Hot baths and saunas: Beneficial for your heart?

Taking baths or saunas on a regular basis may help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Evidence for these benefits comes from studies in Japan (where hot tub use in ingrained in the culture) and Finland, where saunas are popular. Both habits seem to be safe for people with stable heart disease and even mild heart failure. But people with unstable chest pain (angina), poorly controlled high blood pressure, or other serious heart issues should avoid them. Because high temperatures can lower blood pressure, older people with low blood pressure should be extra careful in hot baths and saunas. More »

Telemedicine: A good fit for cardiovascular care?

Virtual doctor visits—when a person talks to a physician on a video call instead of during an in-person office exam—became popular early on in the coronavirus pandemic. The technology may be a good option for managing cardiovascular disease even after in-person visits become more common again. In the future, remote monitoring of health data using Wi-Fi–enabled devices that measure a person’s weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, and heart rhythm could further advance telehealth’s promise. (Locked) More »

Can certain foods or drinks affect your heart’s rhythm?

Certain foods and drinks can affect the heart’s rhythm, but only under unusual circumstances. Possible culprits include grapefruit, energy drinks, licorice, and tonic water. But for the most part, the risks are relevant only for people with a rare inherited condition called long QT syndrome, which can cause shortness of breath, unexplained fainting, and sometimes sudden death. (Locked) More »

What do Twitter posts say about statins?

Many Twitter posts that mention statins provide links to published research about these cholesterol-lowering medications. Some tweets feature personal beliefs about statins that are inaccurate, including the notion that people can eat unlimited unhealthy foods while taking a statin. But only a small percentage of Twitter posts mentioned adverse side effects such as muscle aches and diabetes. (Locked) More »

Grain of the month: Brown rice

Compared with white rice, brown rice contains much higher amounts of fiber, certain B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Research suggests that swapping white rice for brown rice may improve blood sugar levels and help with weight control. More »

Stretching may improve blood vessel health

Doing easy leg stretches may improve flow throughout the body by making the arteries more flexible and able to dilate. Passive stretching could become a new nondrug treatment for improving vascular health. More »

Opioids after heart surgery: A cautionary tale

In one study, about 10% of people prescribed opioid pain relievers following heart surgery kept taking them for three to six months—a time point when no one should still be experiencing pain from the operation. More »